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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Richard Burton (1861–1940)

If We Had the Time

IF I had the time to find a place

And sit me down full face to face

With my better self, that cannot show

In my daily life that rushes so,—

It might be then I should see my soul

Was stumbling still toward the shining goal.

I might be nerved by the thought sublime,—

If I had the time!

If I had the time to let my heart

Speak out and take in my life a part,

To look about and to stretch a hand

To a comrade quartered in no-luck land.

Ah, God! if I might but just sit still

And hear the note of the whippoorwill,

I think that my wish with Ged’s would rhyme—

If I had the time!

If I had the time to learn from you

How much for comfort my word could do;

And I told you then of my sudden will

To kiss your feet when I did you ill;

If the tears aback of the coldness feigned

Could flow, and the wrong be quite explained,—

Brothers, the souls of us all would chime,

If we had the time!